Useful Bible Studies > 2 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

Joab murders Amasa

2 Samuel 20:9-10

Joab killed Abner, the leader of Israel’s army, because Abner had killed Joab’s brother, Asahel, in battle (3:27). However, another reason for Joab’s behaviour now becomes clear: Joab had a very jealous character.

Joab was not jealous, as many other people are, to be rich or popular. There is no evidence that he ever desired to become king. In fact, Joab even encouraged David to take the honour for the battle that Joab won at Rabbah (12:26-28).

Rather, Joab was jealous for power. He wanted to replace Abner as the chief commander of Israel’s army. Then, even after Joab had done that job for many years, he was not willing for Amasa to replace him.

Amasa seemed to think that Joab, as a relative, would support him. Amasa knew how Joab had killed both Abner and Absalom – however, Amasa still trusted him. He even allowed Joab to approach him when Joab was carrying a dagger (a large knife). It was the custom for men to greet each other with a kiss on the side of the face. It took just a moment for Joab to kill him. Amasa had not even realised that he was in danger.

Joab probably considered Amasa foolish. A man who was unaware of danger was unsuitable to be Israel’s chief army commander. However, the truth was that Joab was an evil man. For this murder, and for the murder of Abner, Solomon would punish him with death (1 Kings 2:28-34).

However, for the present time, Joab had regained his position as chief army commander. He did not even stay to bury Amasa’s body. Instead, he turned his attention to his work. He left at once to lead David’s soldiers in their fight against David’s enemy, Sheba.

Next part: Joab takes control over David's army (2 Samuel 20:11)


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